HL Deb 27 September 2000 vol 616 cc191-3WA
Lord Dormand of Easington

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Agenda Item Issue UK Position Outcome
(1) Approval of provisional agenda
(2) Approval of "A" points
(3) Proposal for a directive on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the member states concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products (recast) To agree a revised text on a proposal for a directive regarding the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. The directive consolidates and strengthens three previous directives. It would reduce tar and nicotine yields and introduces a new maximum carbon monoxide yield for all cigarettes manufactured in the EU; increase the size of health warnings and toughen them; ban misleading descriptions such as "light" and "mild"; and require and publicise information on additives. The UK supports the revised text. Commissioner Byrne outlined the proposal and a compromise text, containing the European Parliament's amendments, was tabled. Common position was reached, despite Germany voting against and Austria, Spain and Luxembourg abstaining.
(4) Communication from the Commission on the health strategy of the European Community and proposal for a decision adopting a programme of community action in the field of public health (2000–2006) To receive a communication on the health strategy. This includes a proposal for a public health action programme which will be subject to the co-decision procedure and will be negotiated by the Council and the Parliament in the Autumn. The UK broadly welcomes the proposals but with caveat that they should enhance our national efforts and focus on areas where Community action can bring genuine added value, without straying into areas where the Community has no competence. Commissioner Byrne presented the Communication and there was initial exchange of views between member states, with general approval of the overall direction.
(5) Follow up to the Evora Conference on health determinants To adopt a resolution on action on health determinants. The UK supports the resolution. The resolution was adopted.
(6) Follow up to the Lisbon Conference on medicinal products and public health To adopt conclusions on medicinal products and public health. The UK supports the conclusions The conclusions were adopted.
(7) WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Update on developments on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. UK supports the objective of the convention in securing global action to support national initiatives. Oral report from Commissioner Byrne, underlining the need for co-ordinated action line with the Commission's negotiating mandate. There was no discussion on this item.
(8) Follow up to the Feira European Council To take forward the public health aspects of the Feira Council conclusions including the integration of health into other Community policies, Food Safety White Paper and the Precautionary Principle. The UK welcomes the recognition of health as both a vertical and a horizontal issue. The UK's response to the proposals for a European Food Agency has been submitted to the Commission. The UK broadly welcomes the Commission's communication on the Precautionary Principle but it is still subject to inter-departmental discussion. Health Ministers noted the outcome of the Feira summit and the Commissioner's remit to look at ways in which the horizontal aspects of the health agenda could be addressed.
(9) Any other business
(a) Conference of experts on quality and safety in the transplantation of tissue and organs of human origin The Presidency gave an oral report on the outcome of the conference.
(b) Medical devices for self-diagnosis of HIV Note from the Danish delegation concerning proposals to prohibit the marketing and use of medical devices for self-testing of HIV in Denmark. The UK has legislation in place. It does not see the need for separate regulation in this area as the Medical Devices Directive allows member states to introduce national provisions. Commissioner Byrne agreed to bring this issue to the attention of Commissioner Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise.

What was the outcome of the Health Council held in Luxembourg on 29 June. [HL3731]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ms Stuart) attended the Health Council on 29 June in Luxembourg on behalf of the United Kingdom.

The items in the table were discussed.

Agenda Item Issue UK Position Outcome
(c) Follow up of the CIDEX case A note from the Belgian delegation raising concerns about the recall of CIDEX, a medical device disinfectant produced in the UK, and proposed revisions to the Medical Devices Directive. The UK acknowledges the concerns raised by Belgium and is co-operating fully with the Belgian authorities. It agrees that there are some areas where the directive needs strengthening. Following a statement from the UK, Commissioner Byrne agreed to bring this issue to the attention of Commissioner Liikanen.
(d) Errors when administering intravenous medication in emergencies Note from the Belgian delegation proposing that minimal standards or norms be defined at European level for emergency injectable drugs. The UK would resist any proposal to introduce more legislation on this issue as it is already adequately covered. Commissioner Byrne agreed to bring this issue to the attention of Commissioner Liikanen.